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March 2024 QCB Newsletter

e-Newsletter Volume 4 Issue 3 | March 2024


Personal Remarks by Dr. Remo Rohs


This month brought much exciting news for our department. Dr. Mark Chaisson has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Quantitative and Computational Biology with Tenure effective immediately. Mark’s milestone is personal to me too because he is the first faculty member who joined us since I was responsible for QCB.


Dr. Fengzhu Sun has just been recognized as Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB). The ISCB Fellowship is the highest honor in Computational Biology. Dr. Sun joins Drs. Helen Berman and Michael Waterman as QCB’s third ISCB Fellow.


Students are currently making their decisions to join their chosen programs. While it is difficult for a new department to be ranked, all available rankings list QCB in the top-5 of the country. No wonder that we have already recruited a full and exceptionally strong incoming Ph.D. class.


Remo Rohs, Ph.D.

Department Chair



QCB Faculty

Dr. Fengzhu Sun was elected a Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology (ISCB) for "his foundational contributions to computational biology, in particular, protein-protein interaction network analysis, alignment-free sequence analysis and metagenomic data analysis." The ISCB citation further recognizes that “his expertise, mathematical insights, and methodology development make him a standout in computational biology.”


Dr. Mark Chaisson has been promoted to Associate Professor of Quantitative and Computational Biology with Tenure. Congratulations, Mark, on this well-deserved major milestone!


Dr. Charleston Chiang was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure of Population and Public Health Sciences, and Quantitative and Computational Biology. Congratulations, Charleston!


Dr. Nicholas Mancuso was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure of Population and Public Health Sciences, and Quantitative and Computational Biology. Congratulations, Nicholas!


QCB Publications

Dr. Josh Schraiber and Dr. 'Doc' Edge published a paper, "Heritability within groups is uninformative about differences among groups: Cases from behavioral, evolutionary, and statistical genetics" in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Schraiber & Edge used math and simulations to show weaknesses in the interpretation of statistics used for studying genetic differences between groups of individuals, generalizing arguments dating back over fifty years. Read the PNAS paper here.


Dr. Jazlyn Mooney published a paper “Chromosome-level assembly of the gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) confirms the basal loss of PRDM9 in Canidae”. The study presents the most complete reference genome available to date for non-domestic canids, and lays the groundwork for future studies to describe past and present population dynamics, including the delineation of evolutionarily significant units of management relevance. Read more here.


Dr. Jazlyn Mooney also published a paper titled “Counting the genetic ancestors from source populations in members of an admixed population”. The study expands on the recent paper (Mooney et al 2023, Genetics) and compares the patterns in the numbers of genealogical and genetic ancestors across the generations. Read this paper here.


QCB Graduate Students and Postdocs

Yuxuan Du and Wenxuan Zuo from Dr. Fengzhu Sun's lab, Wei Jiang from Dr. Liang Chen's lab, and Xiaojun Wu from Dr. Adam MacLean's lab successfully defended their Ph.D. dissertations in the CBB Ph.D. Program. Congratulations!


Jordy Homing Lam from the Katritch lab was awarded a prestigious Croucher Fellowship for Postdoctoral Research. The program “identifies and supports a group of talented Hong Kong early-career researchers who will become the next generation of leaders of natural sciences, technology and medicine”.


Dr. Max Tortora, a postdoc in the Fudenberg group, led a team considering how to build reproducible 3D genome simulations at the annual NIH 4D Nucleome hackathon in Seattle, Washington.


Graduate student Yibei Jiang surprises her lab mate Raktim Mitra with a cake for the in-principle acceptance of a high-impact paper in the Rohs lab. News to follow soon.


Notable QCB Joint Faculty Publications

Hacker B, Imms P, Dharani AM, Zhu J, Chowdhury NF, Chaudhari NN, Irimia A. J Neurotrauma. 2024 Mar 14. DOI: 10.1089/neu.2023.0509.


Dessimoz C, Thomas PD. Sci Data. 2024 Mar 5; 11(1):268. DOI: 10.1038/s41597-024-03099-1.


Yadav R, Gati C. Cell Res. 2024 Mar; 34(3):185-186. DOI: 10.1038/s41422-023-00922-z.


QBIO Undergraduate Students

Calling all QBIO Undergraduate students! We're hosting a community Town Hall event on April 1st, where we'll discuss relevant, QBIO major-related updates. Food will be provided, and a social event will follow the Town Hall.


Farewell to Christian Robbie

The QCB Department and its staff bid farewell to its Graduate Student Advisor Christian Robbie who accepted his dream job in advising Performing Arts students at his Alma Mater, Chapman University. As Christian embarks on a new adventure, we are now looking to bring a new graduate student advisor on board in QCB. If interested, please take a look here.


Upcoming Events

QCB Departmental Seminars

April 4th (RRI 101 @2pm): Dr. Josh Akey, Princeton University

April 11th (RRI 101 @2pm): Dr. Sushmita Roy, University of Wisconsin

April 18th (RRI 101 @2pm): Dr. Jaehee Kim, Cornell University

April 25th (RRI 101 @2pm): Dr. Francois Spitz, University of Chicago


Graduation Ceremonies

Ph.D. Hooding Ceremony: May 8th, Allyson Felix Field @11am

Dornsife Commencement (including QCB): May 10th, Allyson Felix Field @11am

QCB Department Reception: May 10th, Michelson Center & Irani Hall (RRI) Courtyard @1pm



Copyright © 2024 Department of Quantitative and Computational Biology, University of Southern California. All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:

1050 Childs Way, RRI 201, Los Angeles, CA 90089-2019

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